South Korea has increasingly been attracting international students into their undergraduate, graduate and research programs. There are about 400 National and private universities and some universities have state of the art research facilities in several emerging scientific fields. Universities that are oriented towards internationalization conduct 30% of their lectures in English. Graduate programs have more lectures in English than undergraduate courses. There are some universities where all the courses are taught in English. Another option is to enroll in Korean language course prior to the academic session. Please check this Manual prepared by SONSIK 11th EC for easy understanding about the education system in Korea.
Presence of Nepali Students in South Korea
South Korea is becoming one of the best destinations to pursue higher education for Nepali students. The first Nepali student came to Korea for higher study dates back to late 70s. Since then students gradually started to join universities in Korea for higher education. As of now, approximately, 500 Nepali students have either completed Masters Degree or Doctoral research from different universities. As per the record of the Korea Immigration Bureau, currently about 500 Nepali students are pursuing their academic degrees and research activities in Korea. The majority of those students are in the field of biochemistry, Nano-Science, Molecular Biology, and Natural Science while very few numbers of students are in IT, Engineering, NGO Studies, Arts and Commerce. There are equally a large number of students who are studying in the religious fields such as Buddhism and Christianity.
South Korean Educational System
The school system in Korea follows a 6-3-3-4 ladder pattern which consists of elementary school (1st to 6th grades), middle school (7th to 9th grades), high school (10th to 12th grades) and junior college, college and university. Korea’s higher education institutions include universities, industrial universities, junior technological universities, and other miscellaneous institutions. Around 30% of the courses these days are conducted in English and the number of lectures in English increases for graduate courses. There are four categories of institutions for higher learning: (1) colleges and universities with four-year undergraduate programs (six-year in medical colleges), (2) junior colleges, (3) universities of education and colleges of education, and (4) miscellaneous schools like theological colleges and seminaries.
Types of Programs
There are many programs available for students wanting to study in Korea. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available for students proficient in Korean or English. Other programs allow students to study in Korea for a summer or semester, studying Korean language and culture or courses in their major. For more information about studying in Korea as an international student Click Here
- Regular Semester Programs: Students attend courses during the regular semester, with both Korean and international students. Courses run from the spring through fall semesters. Language of instruction is either Korean or a foreign language, often English. A larger number of graduate courses are offered in English, compared to undergraduate offerings.
- Short-Term Exchange Programs: Many universities in Korea have international exchange programs with partner universities throughout the world. These programs allow students to study at Korean universities for a short period of time: summer or winter break, a semester or a year.
- Vacation Period Programs: Some universities in Korea offer summer and winter programs for foreign students. Classes are offered in Korean language and culture, as well as general education courses.
Types of Higher Institutions
- Junior Colleges: Junior colleges in Korea offer two and three year programs. Two year programs require 80 credits for graduation, while three year programs require 120 credits. After graduation, students may apply as transfer students to university programs, entering as third-year students. Junior colleges offer a variety of majors including humanities and social sciences, health, performing arts and physical education, natural sciences and engineering. The school year begins in March, with application deadlines usually six months before.
- Undergraduate Programs: The education system at Korean universities is similar to that of Western universities, although some differences do exist. Undergraduate degrees generally have four years of coursework. Medicine, dentistry and oriental medicine degrees are usually completed in six years. Students need to declare their majors when applying to a university, with only a few universities allowing changes in majors. The minimum number of credits for graduation is 140, with some universities having specific course requirements.
- Graduate Schools (Master’s and PhD Programs): There are two types of graduate schools in Korea. Generalist graduate schools offer programs focusing on academic research. These schools offer master’s and Ph. D programs. Specialist graduate schools offer programs to help students prepare for business practices. Some specialist graduate schools only offer master’s courses, while some programs hold evening classes for workers. Graduate programs often offer more classes in English than undergraduate programs. Students must have a bachelor’s degree or expected graduation certificate to be accepted into a program. Test scores for English or Korean proficiency are required, depending on the program. Students without these scores may attend Korean pre-master’s courses for international students. Admission processes and qualifications vary by school and program, so it’s important to contact the admission office at individual schools.
To find the list of Korean Universities and colleges Click Here
The deadline for spring semester (March entry) applications is usually September to November and for autumn semester (September entry) is from May to June. Since this differs between Universities, you need to confirm your date of application at the university you wish you apply. Note that a prospective student should start making preparations one year prior to the intended time of arrival.
A student visa (D-2), is a prerequisite before departure for South Korea and may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Nepal. In order to get the Student Visa, following documents are required to be submitted.
Certificate of admission issued by the president of the college or university, which includes decision on the scholastic and financial ability
- Certificate of the last school attended (Copy of the mark sheet & passing certificate)
- Letter of personal reference of financial affidavit
- Bank Statement in case fee is paid by the student
- In case of Research Scholar – Documents proving the Research Activity
For more information regarding student visa Click Here
Employment While Attending University
Based on the part-time employment regulations for international students of the Ministry of Justice, non-Korean students enrolled in a full-time degree program in Korea may work at a part-time job up to 20 hours per week during the semester and unlimited hours during summer or winter vacations. Applicants must have a recommendation letter from their faculty professor, have international-student status with a D-2 visa, and have been enrolled for more than six months (one semester) in a higher education institution, i.e. a two-year college or above. It is illegal for students who do not meet these criteria to work part-time in Korea. For more information Click Here.
As to full-time employment, only those who have certain skills or professional abilities as stipulated under Korean immigration laws are allowed to work. Possible activities include college lecturing (E-1), foreign language teaching (E-2), conducting research (E-3), technological assistance (E-4), professional skills (E-5), arts and entertainment (E-6), and specially designed activities (E-7).
International students may also want to make use of the Gold card system, which is based on the new employment regulations for international students. The Gold card system allows those who have graduated from a university in Korea with a major in IT, e-business, BT, NT, new materials, transportation equipment, digital electronics, environment and energy to stay and work in Korea. The Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT), in co-operation with the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE), Hi Korea and GT GlobalTech Korea, have developed the Gold Card system. For more information Click Here.
General Living Conditions
It is ideal to be able to stay on campus in a dormitory. However, one may also explore options of living outside the campus in a one room flat, a boarding house for students or as a paying guest with a Korean family. Though the general public does not speak much English, most university students and young people tend to speak English and in fact like to talk to foreigners to practice spoken English. South Korea has a well developed public transport system with a metro and bus system that is convenient and quick. Most Korean food is non-vegetarian but one can also find vegetarian food, other international food, fast food as well as Nepali and Indian restaurants. University campuses have cafeteria at reasonable rates. As in most developed countries, the price of daily commodities is high compared to Nepal.
Korea continues to attract international students who are inspired by the beauty and traditions of Korea or want to deepen their knowledge about the country. Some come to Korea for a short time, just out of curiosity or to study Korean language; others enroll in a regular academic program for an undergraduate, graduate, or a Ph.D. degree. Numerous scholarship programs are available in Korea to help international students finance their studies.
1.University Scholarship Programs
Many Korean universities have a number of scholarship programs for foreign students. While some do not distinguish between Korean students and international students in granting scholarships, the majority of universities have a separate fund for international students. Depending on a student’s academic performance, a scholarship may cover from 30% up to 100% of the tuition. For more information on scholarships offered by individual universities, you can visit the websites of universities or contact the admissions staff at the university. Furthermore you can find more information via study Korea homepage run by the Korean government. For more information Click Here.
2.Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP)
Numerous Korean government institutions offer various scholarship programs to international students. Each year, the number of beneficiaries increases and there are many opportunities. Beginning in 2010, all of the diverse scholarship-related projects supported by the central government has been organically linked and integrated into a new program, which is the Global Korea Scholarship. Global Korea Scholarship is a scholarship program that is supported by the government of the Republic of Korea, and is implemented by the National Institute of International Education Development (NIIED), which is an institution operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. Currently, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade offer different scholarship programs to the International Students.
3.Korean Government Scholarship Program from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology
Purpose: To provide international students with the opportunity to conduct advanced studies of undergraduate and graduate programs at higher educational institutions in the republic of Korea in order to promote international exchange in education and mutual friendship between other countries.
Eligibility: Students of Countries under diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea.
Available Fields and Universities:
- Undergraduate Course: 4-year courses at designated Korean universities (University transfer is not allowed)
- Graduate Course: Master’s and Ph.D. courses at general graduate schools of Korean universities.
Application Procedure: You can apply for this scholarship either through the Korean Embassy in Nepal or directly through the NIIED designated universities in Korea.
Application Period: Late November~Feburary
- Graduate Course: Round trip air fare, tuition fees, monthly stipend of 900,000Won, research expenses of 420,000Won per year for humanities fields and 840,000Won per year for science fields and medical insurance.
- Undergraduate Course: Round trip air fare, tuition fees, monthly stipend of 800,000 Won, and medical insurance.
Contact Information: The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, National Institute for International Education Development +82-2-3668-1358 / Homepage: Click Here.
Korean Government Scholarship Program for Self-financed Students from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology
Purpose: To raise awareness on the benefits of studying in Korea and to motivate financially self-supporting foreign students by subsidizing outstanding ones.
Eligibility: Foreign Students Studying in Korean Universities (Undergraduate and Graduate Courses)
Support Period: 1 year
Support Size: about 400 foreign students
- Monthly stipend 500,000Won.
- Study/Career Counseling Service
Korean Government Support Program for Foreign Exchange Students from the Ministry of Education Science and TechnologyPurpose: To induce the influx of potential foreign students by subsidizing selected foreign exchange students who are currently studying in Korea based on MOUs between universities.Eligibility: Foreign Students who intend to become the exchange student in Korean Universities (Undergraduate and Graduate Courses)Support Period: 6 months (one term) or 12 months (two terms)Support Size: about 500 foreign students
- 6 months: About 6,800,00Won per year, per student (average)
- 12 months: About 12,000,000Won per year, per student (average)
This program is designed to develop outstanding art students in Asia, the AMA scholarship selects students in the fields of music, dance, fine arts, visual art, theater, and the traditional arts for studies at the Korean National University of Arts. Each year candidates are selected for bachelor or masters degree programs.Period: 4 years for undergraduate degree program, 2~3 years for masters degree program in the field of arts
- Undergraduate: 18,000,000 Won a year,
- Graduate: 18,000,000 Won a year
Students from any country wishing to learn Korean for at least six months to a maximum of one year are eligible to apply. The fellowship covers living expenses. Every year, about 70 to 80 people are selected to enroll in a Korean language program. Those who are already learning Korean or are already studying in a Korean-related field are given preference on their application.
Period : 6 months ~ 1 year for Korean language trainingSupport Provided: Monthly stipend of 900,000~1,100,000 KRW, immigration support 300,000 won, tuition, and travelers insuranceApplication Period: End of JulyContact Information: Korea Foundation. Homepage: Click Here
Scholarship Programs from Different Founundations
- Korea Scholarship Foundation for Future Leadership
- Samsung Dream Scholarship Foundation
- The Lotte Foundation
- KT&G Scholarship Foundation
- POSCO TJ Park Foundation
- The PaekSang Foundation (Korean only)
- Korea International Cooperation Agency, KOICA
- National Research Foundation of Korea
- Korea Student Aid Foundation
- Korea Foundation
- SNU Graduate Scholarship for Excellent Foreign Students